Lietuva in brief - 2009-02-18

  • 2009-02-18
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus has said "a lack of national ambition" was at the heart of the nation's problems in his Day of Restoration of Statehood address. "No crisis is more dangerous than a lack of national ambition that prevented Lithuania from solving many problems that could have been solved, depriving it of hundreds of thousands of people who had to emigrate. When I say ambition, I do not mean signs of xenophobia or the crowd's ignoble strife to break windows, which in my view is just as immoral as the arrogance demonstrated by functionaries and their conceited reluctance to admit mistakes," Adamkus said. "We have enough capability and capacity to create our personal welfare and the common good of the nation. For this we have to overcome preconceived fears, stand up to destruction, and translate criticism and disapproval into constructive dialogue. We cannot give in to evil 's political, moral or social. We must strive to resist it by open, truthful, and responsible endeavors and attitudes."

Singer Sasha Son, whose real name is Dima Savrovas, will represent Lithuania at the Eurovision international song contest in Moscow. His song "Pasiklydes Zmogus" (A Lost Man) was victorious in a contest organized by Lithuania's national broadcaster on Feb. 14. "I would never miss the opportunity to represent Lithuania," Savrovas said. The results were decided by votes of television audiences. The 2009 Eurovision will take place in the Russian capital on May 12, 14 and 16.

Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker and Chairman of the National Resurrection Party Arunas Valinskas said he would be willing to run for president if the party backed his candidacy. The former television star made this announcement Feb.15 on the Lithuanian TV3 channel. Valinskas said he discussed presidential election prospects with party colleagues ahead of the party's pending assembly Feb. 22 to discuss its candidate for president. The National Resurrection Party is yet to decide whether to nominate their own candidate or to back another, said Valinskas. He added that he might run even if his party backed another candidate.

Lithuanian parliament's ombudsman Romas Valentukevicius has found valid a complaint from a foreigner living in Lithuania about absence of conditions to have a sex change surgery. The ombudsman urged Health Minister Algis Caplikas "to readdress the problem and make proposals and possible solutions to ensure human rights in the future." The foreigner, whose name and sex is withheld, sent the complaint to the parliament's ombudsman's office on Dec. 22, 2008. According to the complaint, the foreigner, who has a residence permit in Lithuania, was transsexual and was told by officials of the Lithuanian Health Ministry that "change of sex had not been legalized in Lithuania and sex change operations were not carried out in Lithuania." The Lithuanian Civil Code adopted in 2001 stipulates that unmarried persons have a right to medical change of sex. The EU stipulates that conditions and procedures for change of sex operations should be established in a law, which is yet to be passed in the country.